Lost Wedding Ring Found by Logger Finally Returned to Original Owner’s Daughter After 55 Years

The world is full of awfulness right now, so here — have a story that will warm the cockles of your heart: Joyce Wharton of Wayne, NJ has been reunited with her mother’s lost wedding ring 55 years after it first went missing. Not only that, but the logger who found the ring spent a whopping 17 years trying to find its rightful owner. It’s a holiday miracle!

According to NJ.com, Wharton, then 23, had just gotten married and was living in Texas when her parents, Hugh and Hazel Armstrong, hopped on a plane in 1959. The flight was meant to be short — just from Portland, OR to Seattle, WA — and the plane was tiny, a four-seater. Unfortunately, they never arrived at their destination; it was presumed that their plane went down, although it was another 14 years before the crash site was found.

When the Armstrong’s final resting place was discovered near Centralia, WA in 1973, there wasn’t much left to find. “At that time, they really didn’t find anything — they found my dad’s wallet and a few little buttons,” Wharton told Q13 FOX. Her mother’s wedding ring, a row of five diamonds, was among the missing items; Wharton had long since given up hope that it would ever be found. “Just in your heart you’d like to have your mother’s wedding ring,” she said to ABC News. “Something so special to your mom and dad. After all those years you don’t think it’s ever going to be possible.”

Here's a shot of Hugh and Hazel Armstrong:

But then, in 1997, Washington logger Nick Buchanan found something incredible in the roots of a small cedar tree during a hike. “I’m digging at the roots and flipped that ring out,” he said to Q13 FOX. He held onto it, hoping that eventually he’d be able to locate a family member to return it to — and lo and behold, 17 years later, with the help of his nephew and Ancestry.com, he found Wharton. “I never once thought it belonged to me,” he said. “I was just hoping that there was a daughter or a family member that I could turn it over to.”

After a few phone calls, Buchanan mailed the ring off to her; it arrived at her home in New Jersey on Wednesday, December 3. “To get that phone call out of the blue… It’s hard to find adjectives, because you’re so full emotionally,” she said. “It renews all those thoughts of my mom and dad. It was just wonderful.” I don’t know about you guys, but I’m “Awwwwwww!”-ing all over the place right now. Here's what the ring looks like on Wharton's hand:

Although the story of Wharton’s parents ring finding its way back to her is by far the most epic wedding ring return to have happened recently, it’s not the only one; two other, similarly squee-worthy tales have made the news within the past few weeks. Wisconsin couple Justin and Becky Blair finally had Justin’s wedding ring, which he had lost at a bowling alley, returned to them after eight years; and perhaps even more impressively, a SCUBA diver from Massachusetts found a wedding ring while diving off the coast of Mexico and used social media to track down its owner, who had lost it during the couple’s honeymoon in February of 2013. These stories obviously don’t fix everything that’s wrong with the world right now — but they do remind me that people aren’t always awful to each other.

Watch Q13 FOX’s newscast about Wharton and Buchanan below:

Images: allyrose18/Flickr; Q13 FOX (2)